New details have emerged regarding the on-set incident in which Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of the movie “Rust” that resulted in the death of the film’s director of photography, Halyna Hutchins.
According to a search warrant obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the actor and crew were setting up a shot that required Baldwin to point the weapon at the camera. However, thanks to a creeping shadow, the camera had to be adjusted to a different angle. When Baldwin was explaining how he was going to draw his revolver from its holster and where his arm should be for the shot, the firearm went off.
Director Joel Souza explained that he heard “what sounded like a whip and then a loud pop,” and noticed Hutchins, who he was standing behind at the time, grab her midsection as she stumbled backward. She “was assisted to the ground” by other crew members and camera operator Reid Russell recalls Hutchins saying she could not feel her legs.
Hutchins was later airlifted to the hospital where she was eventually pronounced dead. Souza, who was also injured in the incident, has since been released from the hospital.
Souza said three people were handling the gun for the scene. Armorer Hanna Gutierrez Reed reportedly handled three prop guns left on a cart outside the structure they were shooting in due to coronavirus restrictions. Assistant director Dave Halls handed one of those guns to Baldwin. According to a Santa Fe court, Halls announced that it was a “cold gun” before giving it to the actor, lingo meaning that the firearm was unloaded.
Souza said in the warrant that the cast and crew prepared the scene before lunch and then had their meal away from the shooting location around 12:30 p.m. He was not sure if the gun was checked again when everyone returned from lunch.
“The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company,” Rust Movie Productions said in a statement to multiple outlets. “Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time.”
It was also reported that the production was doing its own internal review after there were reported claims that other crew members had complained of unsafe conditions.